header('Cache-Control: max-age=259200'); Regency London Archives – Kristen Koster

Interview with Historical Romance Author Wendy LaCapra

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Mar 152015
 

Cover image for Lady Vice (A Furies Novel) by Wendy LaCapraToday, we’re celebrating Wendy LaCapra‘s debut release, LADY VICE, the first in her Furies trilogy from Entangled Publishing. I met Wendy through The Beau Monde chapter of RWA® and have been following her publishing trajectory for a while now. She’s one of the sweetest people I know and so willing to reach out and help others. I hope you come to love her and her work as much as I do!

LADY VICE
by Wendy LaCapra

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Interview with Historical Romance Author Sally Orr

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Nov 242014
 

Cover of Sally Orr's debut novel, THE RAKE'S HANDBOOK: INCLUDING FIELD GUIDE.Today’s guest is a fellow member of RWASD and the Beau Monde. Please welcome, Sally Orr who is celebrating her debut novel which released on November 4th!

I’ve gotten to know Sally over the last several years and love her wonderful sense of humor, so I wasn’t surprised when Deb Werksman from Sourcebooks took an interest in her manuscript that was a 2013 Golden Heart® finalist and the next two books in the series as well. Sally’s website describes her writing as “Romping Regency-Era Romance” — yup, a match well-made!

THE RAKE’S HANDBOOK: INCLUDING FIELD GUIDE
by Sally Orr

ISBN: 978-1492602118
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Jan 152014
 
Hyde Park section of "Improved map of London for 1833, from Actual Survey. Engraved by W. Schmollinger, 27 Goswell Terrace"

When talking about the Royal London Parks in the Regency, the first thing to remember the word “park” held different meanings from how we (especially Americans) typically think of them today.

So get those visions of benches, swing sets, picnic tables and those box-shaped grills on metal posts out of your head, because our Regency folks would often say a “park” refers to a large open tract of land that is often used for grazing cattle or a place where deer were hunted. You’ll often see the land surrounding a country manor house referred to as a park as well and the author just means that there is a lot of open land surrounding the place that may or may not be landscaped or fenced off.

London Parks in the Regency Era

Today, we’re going to talk a bit about some of the parks in London that Regency Era heroes and heroines might have visited. And I’m using Regency Era to mean the long Regency, which continues through the reigns of George IV, William IV and ends when Queen Victoria was crowned.
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Aug 022013
 

Cover for HERO'S REDEMPTION by Georgie LeePlease welcome Georgie Lee to the blog today to celebrate her recent release of her Regency novella, HERO’S REDEMPTION. I met Georgie through my local RWA San Diego chapter because we both had an interest in Regency Romance and she’s also a member of The Beau Monde chapter. If you can’t guess from her bio picture below, she’s a wonderfully animated person and a veritable whirlwind of energy when you get her going on topics she’s passionate about.

HERO’S REDEMPTION
by Georgie Lee

eISBN: 9781426895913

Blurb:

London, 1817

Devon, the Earl of Malton, is a hero for his deeds at the Battle of Waterloo. But he suffers terrible nightmares, and drinks himself to sleep most nights. A habit he vows to break when he awakes one morning to find a woman sharing his bed, no memory of how she got there, and her angry brother at his door.

Cathleen is mortified when her wastrel brother and his greedy wife propose a blackmail scheme involving the earl, but as a penniless war widow she’s at their mercy. She goes along with the plan and sneaks into Devon’s bed one night, and ends up comforting him through a night terror.

Charmed by her beauty and kindness, Devon determines that rather than pay the blackmail, he will offer his hand in marriage to Cathleen. Although she is deeply attracted to the stoic earl, Cathleen cannot understand why Devon would want to marry her. What she doesn’t know is that Devon owes her a debt that can never fully be repaid…


Georgie’s a fan of many historical eras from Ancient Rome to the Golden Age of Hollywood, but let’s find out a bit more about her and why she writes in the Regency Era.

1. What drew you to writing Historical Romances in general and specifically to setting stories during the Regency Era?

I’m a history buff who loves many different eras from ancient Egypt to early America but I’ve always been drawn to British history. Jane Austen is responsible for leading me to focus on the Regency in my writing. I love Jane Austen because she captures the spirit of a very specific era with great insight, humor, wit and intelligence. Her characters are well-developed and with foibles, heartbreaks, challenges and triumphs that everyone can relate to. And, even after almost 200 years, Mr. Darcy is still very dishy.

2. What’s the strangest bit of historical trivia you’ve picked up in your research?

I’ve learned a lot of strange things, but one of the strangest is that the Sears catalogue used to sell morphine and a syringe, back when it was legal.

3. These next few questions assume that time travel is possible. I know you’ve written novels in several different time periods from Ancient Rome to Regency England to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Which era in time would you pick to visit?

Choosing just one time period is tough, but I have to pick ancient Egypt during the reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III. She was the most powerful female ruler in Egypt and they were co-rulers for some time. Once she died, Thutmose became one of Egypt’s greatest Pharaohs. It would be wonderful to see the dynamics that made her reign possible, to watch her rise to power and to know why, so many years after her death, Thutmose decided to remove her from the historical record. Also, I’d love to know more about the ancient Egyptian’s daily lives. Although we know a great deal about their funerary practices, very little is known about their daily lives. I would love to see the court of Pharaoh, to see how he and the noble women spent their days.

4. What modern conveniences would you miss most? What would you miss least?

The modern convenience I would miss the most is modern medicine. The one thing I would miss the least is TV. I just don’t watch it as much as I used to.

5. What would be the hardest for you to adapt to in the Regency Era?

The lack of plumbing and bathrooms. I really like running water and flushing toilets. It is so convenient.

6. Where would you fit into the society?

Oh, I would definitely fit in right at the top, maybe not as Queen, but definitely as a Duchess (hey, this is all make-believe so why not aim high, right?)

7. How long have you been writing? What advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning novelist if you could? Would this advice differ from what you’d say to an aspiring author now?

I grew up writing many different things including poetry, short stories and screenplays. I wrote a short story for a contest in sixth grade. At the time, I was fascinated by Greek mythology so I created a myth about the Greek gods and the creation of the silver swan constellation. The story won first prize.

I began my professional writing career at a small cable TV station in San Diego where I wrote marketing videos and public service announcements. I’d always dreamed of being a screenwriter, so I moved to Los Angeles and earned my MA in screenwriting. Despite my best efforts, screenwriting success proved a little elusive (OK, a LOT elusive). I’d always read romance novels and so I thought to myself, heck, I can write a romance novel. So I did. The first draft wasn’t pretty, but I learned a lot during the revision process. That story went on to become Lady’s Wager, a Regency romance and my first published novel.

The best advice I would give myself as a beginning novelist is to learn to plot. I could have saved myself a lot of time if I’d forced myself to become a plotter sooner. The best advice I can give to aspiring authors now is to keep trying and don’t give up. There were many years where I was writing and nothing was being published and then all of a sudden, one day, all the hard work began to pay off. It’s a long term career so you can’t let setbacks make you give up.

8. I know you also love the Golden Age of Hollywood and even have a novel set there. Tell us a bit about your Hollywood experience and what are the biggest differences between writing for the screen and writing for novels that you’ve found?

Ah, the Hollywood experience. I have so many whacky stories from when I worked in La-La land, there isn’t a blog post long enough to write them all. However, I also have a lot of great stories too, like the time I accidentally met Enya, my favorite singer. It was the only time I’ve ever been star struck.

The biggest difference between writing for the screen and writing novels is detail. Screenplays don’t demand a lot of detail about setting, characters etc, so when I made the switch from screenwriting to novels, I had to learn to add details and not leave them out.

9. How do you balance your writing life and with being a wife and mom?

Making time to write is key and those writing times are usually first thing in the morning when the house is quiet and I am, for the most part, awake. I’m also an opportunistic writer and I will sneak in writing time during naps, quiet play and in the evening.

10. Are you reader? What are some of your favorites?

I am a voracious reader of non-fiction history. It’s where many of my ideas for historical romances come from and something I’ve always enjoyed. I have a large library of non-fiction books covering subjects from ancient Egypt to medicine, Regency England and classic Hollywood, to period costume and dance. There are very few topics or times periods that I am not interested in reading about.

I also read a lot of fiction, but when it comes to favorites, I lean towards classics authors such as Oscar Wilde for sharp witty dialogue, W. Somerset Maugham for great insight into characters and D.H. Lawrence for well-developed internal monologue.

11. What do you find to be the most challenging part of being a writer?

The most challenging part of being a writer is marketing. However, I am really good at walking up to strangers holding a Kindle and handing them a card for my book. I have done this numerous times, much to the embarrassment of the person I’m with.

Photo of Georgie Lee, Author


About the Author

A dedicated history and film buff, Georgie Lee loves combining her passion for Hollywood, history and storytelling through romantic fiction. She began writing professionally at a small TV station in San Diego before moving to Los Angeles to work in the interesting but strange world of the entertainment industry.

Her first novel, LADY’S WAGER, and her contemporary novella, ROCK ‘N ROLL REUNION are both available from Ellora’s Cave Blush. LABOR RELATIONS, a contemporary romance of Hollywood, and STUDIO RELATIONS, a love story set in 1935 Hollywood, are currently available from Montlake Romance. Her Regency novella, HERO’S REDEMPTION from Carina Press released on July 29, 2013, and her Regency novel, ENGAGEMENT OF CONVENIENCE is coming from Harlequin Historical on October 1, 2013.

When not writing, Georgie enjoys reading non-fiction history and watching any movie with a costume and an accent. Please visit www.georgie-lee.com or http://georgielee.blogspot.com for more information about Georgie and her novels. She can also be found on Facebook, GoodReads, and Twitter.

Buy HERO’S REDEMPTION: Amazon | Carina Press

Sep 282012
 

This week for our How I Write series, my accountability group was asked, “If you could do anything for writing research, what would you do?”

Honestly, this was a no-brainer for me. I’d head over to Suzi Love’s blog and pull up her category of posts for the Best Places to Visit that relate to Regency England and start mapping out an itinerary. Since the question seemed to imply that time and money weren’t obstacles, I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about leaving anywhere off the list.

Oh, and I’d definitely take my camera. So I could go back later and revisit everything. Although I might have to invest in a few more memory cards.

I’ve never been to England, but as you can imagine, would love to go. Getting me to come home might be a problem. Hopefully, I wouldn’t fall through a time portal or anything so melodramatic while I was there, but I’m sure I’d come home with a whole flock of plot bunnies.

Your Turn: So what would you do for research on your creative project?


And if you’d like to read how the rest of my accountability group would like to do in the name of research, you can find their blogs here:

* Alexia Reed * Kimberly Farris * Danie Ford * Emma G. Delaney

Kissing Games at LuvYA Today!

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Aug 282012
 

Click to read my KISSING GAMES guest post at Bria Quinlan's LuvYA blog.

A Guest Post on Kissing Games

I’m talking about the history of Kissing Games on Bria’s LuvYA blog today in celebration of Bria Quinlan and Valerie Cole‘s Month of Kisses and Kiss-Offs.

A Contest to Enter

Bria and Valerie have planned a whole bunch of fun ways to lead up to their KISS / KISS-OFF CONTEST and I’m tickled pink to be asked to join in! I hope you’ll stop by and check out the contest too, which opens on August 31st!

Jul 312012
 

I’m going to stray a bit from the typical Tuesday Regency Primer post, today. Last week, I attended the annual National Conference for the Romance Writers of America. The day before the official conference started, my online chapter The Beau Monde held its annual mini-conference which included breakfast, a general meeting, a variety of workshops. But the best part of the day was the Beau Monde soiree that evening, complete with refreshments, period dancing and card tables.

I managed to miss the breakfast and general meeting but made it for Candice Hern‘s workshop on Accessories in Regency Era fashion prints for everything from bonnets and caps to ridicules to muffs and shawls. I loved how it was organized by year and we got to see how the styles changed over the years. Everyone was laughing over the bonnet brims that looked like mail boxes around 1807.

After that, came lunch and Delilah Marvelle (she of the A Bit o’ Muslin blog fame) was our keynote speaker. Her story was amazing and emotional, but while I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room, she also inspired and encouraged each of us to work through our struggles and convinced us that they can only make us stronger, as people, as writers.

Image of Apron-Front gown before show & tell started =)After lunch, Isobel Carr’s presentation was on How Clothes Worked, and included a bit of show and tell. She passed around a pair of stays, which really were nothing more than a long bra/foundation and were much softer in construction than I had originally imagined, except for the busk (the ivory, bone, or metal insert that insisted on correct posture at all times). When we got to gowns, the static photo of an apron-front or drop-front gown with its multiple layers and numerous ties proved too much for pictures and a simple verbal explanation.

Isobel Carr dressing Delilah Marvelle in an Apron-Front GownDelilah volunteered to be dressed in one that Isobel had brought along. Her white dress caused a few to remark how she already had her chemise on and would be perfect for the part. The inner bodice pieces tied in the front in a double-breasted fashion. Then, the front of the gown has two long ties that go around the back and tie in the front, but get tucked inside the front of the gown.

 

Almost done, just need some pins! Finally, the part hanging down like a bib at that point, would be pulled up over those ties and the inner bodice pieces and pinned into place. This, Isobel explained, was most likely the type of gown worn by ladies who needed to dress themselves and the most easily lent type as it was very forgiving in matters of size, although length was more of an issue for Delilah than anything else. If you see the dress in pictures from the soiree, another member, Suzy Kue, is wearing the dress. She’s much taller than Delilah and said she was taking notes on what all she could and couldn’t do while wearing the stays with the busk under the dress.

 

The Beau Monde SoireeThat evening, we regathered for a soiree. As all good ton events must be, this was quite the crush. A dance mistress was brought in to teach and lead several country dances while a string ensemble played in the corner. Several tables were set up around the room and multiple games of cards ensued. A table of refreshments was also provided, and thankfully not a drop of weak lemonade was in sight.

The Beau Monde (Chapter) SoireeActually playing whist against three other humans instead of computer AI’s was exciting. Next time, I definitely need to be able to describe the why’s and how’s of strategy while playing, otherwise it’s a bit much like a modern game of SlapJack to see who had the highest card and take the trick. But all in all, it was a fantastic experience to be surrounded not only by over 2000 romance writers, but to mingle, rub elbows and socialize with that many Regency Romance writers who all had similar knowledge and appreciation for the genre.

Jul 032012
 
Fireworks display at Vauxhall Gardens, 1800.

With fireworks in the night skies this week as both Canada and the US celebrate their birthdays, I got to thinking about Vauxhall Gardens where fireworks were a common entertainment in the Georgian and Regency periods.

During the Regency, the relatively cheap price of admission (about 3 shilling and sixpence during the early 19th century) and a growing middle class drove the popularity of Vauxhall Gardens. You could go and listen to an orchestra play, see the fireworks, and find light refreshment or cold suppers served in one of the boxes or alcoves.

Fireworks display at Vauxhall Gardens, 1800.

Fireworks display at Vauxhall Gardens, 1800.

Like going to the fair today, the cost of such fare was not cheap. In 1817, a small dish of ham, two small chickens cost 11 shillings and dessert of assorted tarts, custards and cheesecakes were another four. Notably, the ham served was pronounced to be “as thin as muslin” or “able to read a newspaper through it”. The Gardens was also known for its arrack punch, made by mixing arrack (an Indian liquor derived from areca nut, a palm seed originating in India from the areca tree), rum and sugar.

One feature of note, especially to writers and readers of fiction in this era, was the practice of chartering boats from Whitehall and Westminster to reach the gardens located in Kennington, on the south bank of the Thames. This was an option for those who could afford it instead of crossing Westminster Bridge, which made the gardens accessible by road after 1750, and provided a way to show off their status.

Vauxhall GardensThe grounds of The Gardens were lush and expansive, decorated with waterfalls, stone and thatched pavilions, and a canal running through with two elegant cast-iron bridges, in the Chinese manner. A sham castle was also prominent and planted with several pieces of cannon, bowling greens, swings, and thatched umbrellas as a shelter from sudden rains and storms.

Another feature often mentioned in Regency Romances are the many paths illuminated by as many as 15,000 colorful glass lanterns hung among the trees. Most famous of these were the Grand Walk, a wide avenue lined with stately elms that was over 900 feet long, and the “Dark Paths”, a collection of less illuminated serpentine walks, which were far more suited to seduction and discreet rendezvous for the romantic leads.

By the Georgian era, The Gardens could accommodate crowds numbering above 60,000 for the jubliee celebration in 1786 with nightly entertainments that began in the month of May. In 1813, a fête was held on June 20th, to celebrate the victory at Vittoria. All sorts of people visited The Gardens ranging from families, to businessmen, to vendors looking to make a profit from visitors, to the cream of society wishing to be seen.

The wide variety of entertainments included acrobatics and tightrope acts, equestrian feats, and balloon ascents, and in 1827, the Battle of Waterloo was re-enacted with 1,000 soldiers participating. But as the 19th century progressed, the gardens fell into disrepair and the crowds and entertainments became less reputable as well and the popularity of the gardens faded and closed in July of 1859.


To learn a bit more about the history from 1660 to the present of these pleasure gardens, Jane Austen’s World has a wonderful blog post, A Visit to Vauxhall Gardens by Tony Grant, that includes a detailed map of Vauxhall dating from 1800.

More information regarding a variety of other Regency-themed topics including other Regency London Landmarks can be found on my Regency Resource page. If you’d like more information on a specific place or topic, please let me know in the comments section below.

Jun 292012
 

This week for our How I Write series, my accountability group is sharing shout outs for the people and sites who make our lives so much easier in the research department. If you’re looking for fabulous resources for Regency research, check out the sites and people listed below.

Regency Research: 173/366 Hydrangea

THANK YOU! For bringing a bright spot to my day and making research fun, interesting and easier!

I’m not sure if everyone mentioned will see this post, but THANK YOU for your interest, your time and love of the Regency Era. You have definitely inspired me on many levels and I can only hope my own blog and pages here are as useful to others as yours have been to me. Again, thank you for all you do.

Useful Sites for Regency Research

The Regency Collection and especially for the section on Neckclothitania and how to tie Regency style cravats.

Jane Austen’s World is a wonderful blog devoted to, yup, the world of Jane Austen! Lots of great Regency resources and articles to be found here.
You can also follow Vic on Pinterest and twitter at @janeaustenworld.

The Regency World of Author Lesley-Anne McLeod
You can also follow her on twitter at @lesleyannemc.

Shannon Donnelly’s research articles on horses and everything related You can also follow her on twitter at @sdwriter.

Susanna Ive’s Regency research links You can also follow her on twitter at @SusannaIves.

Nancy Mayer Regency Researcher Nancy is the go to gal for answers on the Beau Monde chapter’s Facebook group and their member’s only forum.

Suzi Love’s Blog articles and her various Research Links. You can also follow her on twitter at @suzilove.

Angelyn Schmid collects The Assembly Room posts for the Beau Monde blog, but she also has a great Regency blog. You can also follow her on twitter at @AngelynSchmid.

David W Wilkin has a great blog over at The Things That Catch My Eye where he’s been doing a lot of Regency timelines, notable personalities and lexicon entries. You can also follow him on twitter at @DWWilkin.


I also have more links saved in my Regency Resources page (which looks like I need to update it again with some these!) so feel free to browse over there and see if you find anything interesting.

YOUR TURN: What are some of YOUR favorite places to do do research? Hint: it doesn’t have to be Regency or Writing related at all! I’m curious about all sorts of things.

And if you’d like to read about who the rest of my accountability group are highlighting, you can find their blogs here:

* Alexia Reed * Kimberly Farris * Danie Ford * Emma G. Delaney

May 182012
 

A photo of three Regency ladies.

Tabitha Gifford (Center)

This week for our How I Write series, my accountability group asked, “Could you be best friends with any of the heroines you’ve written. Is she/Are they someone you would hang out with? Why or why not?”

I don’t know about BFFs, but my heroines are definitely the kind of people I’d hang out with. In my head they’re all strong women who know what they want and don’t suffer fools lightly. On my current pages, they’re not quite there and a couple times I’ve needed smacked upside and asked “What were you thinking?”, but hey, we’ve all got friends like that, right? We love them despite their occasional bone-headed decisions or statements.

They definitely share some of my interests: gardening, music, solving puzzles, playing games, reading, horses. One thing we all seem to have in common is a liking for handsome blokes wearing cravats. Completely understandable, I think.

I’ve also spent about 5 years with Marcia (Revealed) and Tabitha (BHT) in my head. They’re probably my favorite heroines so far, although I like Althea from The Flower Queen’s Daughter (FQD) and Amanda from Jack of Hearts (JoH), but they’re definitely not as fully formed personalities, but I definitely want to get to know them better. I think Henrietta will also be one of my favorites as she really appeals to the tomboy I was growing up. One thing I know, I’d definitely like you all to meet them one day!

A photo of a Regency Lady.

Marcia Drummond

I’d need a time machine to go hang out with them, but isn’t that exactly what books are? Time Machines, rocket ships, portals to other dimensions, flies on the wall where we can’t normally go? I think it’d infinitely cooler to go hang out with them in their time period than this one. I suspect I’d have a better chance of fitting into Regency times, despite missing many of the modern conveniences like computers, internet, air conditioning and indoor plumbing. I think the social whirl would get to me and I’d gladly sit with Marcia on the sidelines and just watch.


This question was very difficult for me to answer because I have tended to have very few close female friends in real life at any one time. I was always one that hung out with the guys in school and even afterwards, working in the computer games industry, I was definitely in the minority. Barrington and I would have been best buds and Bolster too, just because with one, you get the other in the bargain. Isn’t it odd, that I say that, yet STILL feel Barrington is the one character I know the least about his backstory and motivations?

Cub Scouts and writing changed that balance for me. Cub Scouts gained me several close mom friends who were going through the same things, even though I was just as happy hanging out with some of the dads at events too. Getting more involved with writing and the community around it expanded my virtual and local circles to include some amazing women who are super supportive and even though I haven’t met all of them in person yet, I’m proud to call them all ‘friend’.


YOUR TURN: How do you push through things you don’t like to do and can you turn your weaknesses into strengths?

And if you’d like to read about how the rest of my accountability group answered, you can find their blogs here:

* Alexia Reed * Kimberly Farris *
* Angeleque Ford * Danie Ford * Emma G. Delaney